Spotlight on Research - Summer 2013

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Research Center Spotlight: MCEDC

Engineering in developing communities

Distinctive Facilities: The Correll Lab

Practical robot apps and smart materials

New Projects - Summer 2013

Chris Bowman (ChBE) received an NIH award for “Oxygen-Mediated Initiation of Thiol-ene Adhesives and Sealants” in the amount of $424K.

Dejan Filipovic (ECEE) received a three-year award for “Low-Profile HF Antennas for Vehicles on the Move” from the DOD Navy ONR in the amount of $907K. 

Peter Hamlington (ME) and Nicole Lovenduski (INSTAAR) were awarded an NSF grant for $401K titled “Collaborative Research:  Reacting Tracers in a Turbulent Mixed Layer.”

Christine Hrenya (ChBE) received a DOE grant for $476K titled “Using Solid Particles as Heat Transfer Fluid for Use in Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Plants.”

Moncef Krarti (CEAE) received two awards this year from the American Council on Education (USAID) for a total of $1M: "Promoting Sustainable Energy and Water Management Technologies for the Agricultural Sector in Tunisia" and "Promoting Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technologies for the Industry Sector in Tunisia."

Robert Leben (AES) is the recipient of an $845K, four-year grant from NASA called “Multivariate Sea Level Reconstruction for Historical and Near Real-Time Ocean and Climate Monitoring.”

Shelly Miller (ME) received an award from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers for $500K for “Role of HVAC Systems in the Transmission of Infectious Agents in Buildings and Intermodal Transportation.” 

Steve Nerem (AES) received a four-year award for $920K from NASA for “The Climate Data Record of Sea Level Change: Influence of Decadal Variability.”

Rishi Raj (ME) received a three-year, $480K award from the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) via the University of Tennessee at Knoxville for “Advanced Accident-tolerant Ceramic Coatings for 2r-alloy Cladding: The C 3 Project.”

Ted Randolph (ChBE) and Co-PI Dan Schwartz (ChBE), along with collaborators from the University of Colorado Denver, North Carolina State University and the University of Delaware, received five years of funding from NIH totaling $4.28M for “Biotechnology Research Partnerships Renewal: Aggregation of Therapeutic Proteins.”

Nikolay Zabotin (ECEE) received an award from the DOD Navy ONR for $804K. This three-year grant is for “Tracing Acoustic-Gravity Waves from the Ocean into the Ionsophere through Windows of Transparency in the Air-Sea Interface.” Co-PIs are Oleg Godin (CIRES) and Terence Bullett (CIRES).

Technology Transfer News - Summer 2013

Chris Bowman (ChBE) developed an advanced polymer technology that was recently licensed to 3M. The technology enables formation of very low-shrinkage composites, improving performance of many materials currently used in dental fillings and sealants, dentures and dental implants.

> Learn more

Research Metrics - Summer 2013

Congratulations to all of you as the college's research funding continues to grow! Please let us in the ADR office know how we can help you to maintain and expand your successful research programs.

Research Awards for FY 13 July-February


Research Proposals Submitted for FY 13 July-February


For a complete list of new projects, see the OCG Monthly Awards Report.

Research Center Spotlight: MCEDC


The purpose of the Mortenson Center for Engineering in Developing Communities (MCEDC) is to educate engineers on how to incorporate humanitarian principles into professional and personal careers. MCEDC promotes integrated and participatory solutions to improve living standards by advancing research on issues relevant to developing communities, facilitating community capacity building, and educating globally responsible engineers using a systems perspective. Most importantly, the Mortenson Center’s methodology focuses on transferring knowledge from the developing community and on-site organizations to engineers, and vice versa, so that together they can develop the best long-term, locally-empowered solutions.

MCEDC builds on traditional technical engineering expertise to provide CU-Boulder students with a holistic skill set. Students learn to work with community partners across disciplines in order to develop community-appropriate solutions. In 2012, MCEDC students completed assignments ranging from door-to-door surveys about perceived air quality, latrine usage and upkeep, to gray water filter designs, to training for individuals on the basics of using Google SketchUp software and electrical design for photovoltaic systems.

Last year, MCEDC partnered with 18 organizations to place 25 students in 16 countries. Poverty, social justice, shelter, food security, and infrastructure development are just a few of the challenges the MCEDC Global Development group is addressing through innovative and sustainable solutions. MCEDC’s Global Development group on CU-Boulder’s campus includes collaborations with faculty from every school and college working toward innovative solutions for global development.  The Mortenson Center is poised to facilitate a new kind of effort to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

> Visit the MCEDC website

Distinctive Facilities: The Correll Lab

Research in Nikolaus Correll’s lab focuses on practical robot applications and smart materials. Correll and his team study perception and manipulation challenges in order to autonomously care for plants with applications in space exploration and urban agriculture (vertical farming). They also study the assembly of high-precision three-dimensional structures, such as space telescope trusses. Future robotic systems that approach the agility and dexterity of living systems will require “smart” materials, which the Correll Lab is creating by deeply embedding sensing, actuation and computation in polymer materials. Results of this work include soft robotic skins that can sense touch; soft, pneumatic actuators that can gently manipulate objects; clothes made from smart fabric; airplane wings that can change their shape; and facades that can change their opacity and air permeability based on user gestural input. Albeit serving completely different applications, all these systems share identical computing infrastructure and computational challenges ranging from communication in large-scale distributed lattice systems to distributed information processing. 

> Visit the Correll Lab online

How Can We Help?

Research Development & Grant Writing News is a monthly newsletter for faculty on how to compete successfully for research and education funding from federal agencies and foundations. Academic Research Funding Strategies, LLC publishes this newsletter, which is available on our website under the “Research Strategy and Analysis Reports” section. This month’s edition features information on “Team Science,” proposal writing tips, agency news and updates, and funding opportunities.

Important Changes to NSF Proposal Submissions

The following text provides details about important changes in NSF submission requirements which took effect on March 18, 2013. NSF is not kidding about enforcing these rules! We already have reports of proposals being automatically rejected by FastLane (before panel review) for non-compliance and for not properly addressing the “Results from Prior Support” section (which must include “intellectual merit,” “broader impacts,” and dollar amount).

  1. The NSF FastLane system has been updated to execute an automated compliance check for all of the Grant Proposal Guide required documents (listed below). Any proposal that fails to have a document uploaded to each of the required sections will be blocked from submission by the system. Previously the FastLane system only checked for the presence of three documents: the project summary, data management plan, and post-doctoral mentoring plan (if applicable). The system now will check for the presence of the following documents:
    1. Project Summary
    2. Project Description
    3. Budget
    4. Budget Justification
    5. Facilities, Equipment, and other Resources
    6. Biographical Sketch(es) for the PI, Co-PIs, and all senior personnel added to a proposal
    7. Current and Pending Support for the PI, Co-PIs, and all senior personnel added to a proposal
    8. References Cited
    9. Data Management Plan
    10. Post-Doctoral Mentoring Plan (if applicable)

This requirement is applicable to all proposals including conference, workshop, symposium and international travel proposals; however, pre-preproposals and supplemental funding requests are exempted from this requirement. 

In order to meet the new NSF requirement and submit conference, workshop, symposium, and other proposals which don’t require all of the above documents as stated within the program solicitation, proposers will need to insert text or upload a document in that section of the proposal that states “Not Applicable.” Doing so will enable FastLane to accept the proposal for submission. Details of this auto-compliance policy are also available online.

  1. The automated compliance checking for biographical sketches and Current & Pending Support documents as it applies to proposers who have previously uploaded all these documents as one file under the PI’s name may continue to do so, because:
    1. FastLane permits the biosketch and current and pending support sections to be uploaded as a single PDF for the PI, Co-PI and senior project personnel
    2. For FastLane to accept the proposal, proposers must insert text or upload a document that states “Not Applicable” for any Co-PI or senior person
  1. Project Description merit review criteria are now required; all NSF proposal Project Descriptions must be responsive to the following revisions:
    1. Must contain a separate section with a discussion of the broader impacts of the proposed activities
    2. Results from Prior Support (if any) must address intellectual merit and broader impacts - must include dollar amount
  1. The Merit Review Criteria for Reviewers has been revised so that reviewers will now be specifically requested to document how each proposal responds to the solicitation and Grant Proposal Guide Instructions. The review process has been revised in the following ways:
    1. Guiding Principles, Revised Review Criteria, and five review elements incorporated into GPG Chapter III
    2. Reviewer and Panelist Letters
      1. Give due diligence to the three Merit Review Principles
      2. Evaluate against the two Merit Review Criteria
      3. Consider the five review elements in the review of both criteria
    3. Panel and Proposal Review Form in FastLane
      1. Updated to incorporate consideration of review elements in addressing the two criteria
      2. Text box added for reviewers to address solicitation-specific criteria
  2. NSF Links to Resources
    1. NSF Merit Review Website
    2. Resources for the Proposer Community
    3. Fact Sheets
      1. Webcast
      2. Presentations
      3. FAQs

Contact Us

We welcome your feedback in general and encourage you to let us know how we can further help support your research programs. Contact either:

Kurt Maute
Associate Dean for Research

Jeff Sczechowski
Assistant Dean for Research Opportunities

Linda Rose
Coordinator for Research Facilitation

Molly Riddell
Manager of Large Proposals

Hilary Maybee
Assistant to the Associate Dean for Research

Important Announcements

CUEngineering:  A publication for alumni and friends. Read the 2016 edition of CUEngineering magazine here.

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